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Writer’s childhood in Havering inspires book

Sheila Norton grew up in Havering in the 60s and has now set her latest book in the borough. Sheila Norton grew up in Havering in the 60s and has now set her latest book in the borough.

Saturday, April 12, 2014
1:01 PM

A writer has published a novel about growing up in 1960s Havering in a world of changing fashion, music – and violence.

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Sheila Norton, 64, now living in Chelmsford, spent her youth in the borough and has used these memories as inspiration for her latest novel, Yesterday.

She said: “I have written novels but they were all contemporary rom-coms. This time I wanted to try something a little different and since I grew up in the 60s, it is a time I know very well.”

Tensions

The plot centres around the feisty female lead, Cathy Ferguson, who is caught up in a violent outburst between mods and rockers.

Tensions between groups of warring teens resulted in hundreds of arrests in Clacton in 1964.

However, it is only when she is a middle-aged journalist that she is asked to relive those memories.

Sheila said: “I always thought of myself as a mod. I was only 14 and still at school so wasn’t really part of the group but I liked the way they dressed, their music and Cathy is the same way.”

Sheila spent most of her youth in Ardleigh Green, Hornchurch, attending Romford County High School, now Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls, in Brentwood Road, Romford. It was then Sheila started to develop her love for writing.

She said: “What I remember most is probably Romford Market when it was still a cattle market, seeing it filled with cows and sheep, and the brewery smelling of malted barley and wheat.”

Sheila added: “Your teenage years is the period you often go back to when you’re older and the sixties in particular was extraordinary.”

Yesterday is being released on Thursday first as a Kindle edition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the feud.

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